September 17, 2013
Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch
Fox News chief Roger Ailes, left, and Rupert Murdoch (Richard Drew/Associated Press)

Fox News put out a press release today announcing its new fall prime-time lineup (Greta Van Susteren moves from 10 p.m. to 7 p.m., Megyn Kelly is in at 9 p.m., Sean Hannity moves from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., who really cares.) The release’s real news came at the very foot of the release, via this assertion: “A top five cable network, FNC has been the most watched news channel in the country for more than eleven years and according to Public Policy Polling, is the most trusted television news source in the country.”

True statement, in a Fox News kind of way. The last Public Policy Polling (PPP) study on news trustworthiness, published in February 2013, indeed ranks Fox News at the top of the bunch. Fox News wallops the competition, as follows!

Which TV news outlet do you trust the most:
ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Comedy Central,
Fox News, MSNBC, NBC News, or PBS?
ABC 11% ……………………………………………………….
CBS 6% ……………………………………………………….
CNN 12% ……………………………………………………….
Comedy Central 5% ……………………………………….
Fox 34% …………………………………………………………
MSNBC 8% …………………………………………………..
NBC 5% ……………………………………………………….
PBS 13% ……………………………………………………….
Someone else/Not sure 7%

Bold text added to highlight Fox News’s dominance on the trust front.

The catch? Fox News also wins on another front. Again, let’s go to the poll numbers:

Working from the same list of choices, which
TV news outlet do you trust the least?
ABC 5% ……………………………………………………….
CBS 5% ……………………………………………………….
CNN 13% ……………………………………………………….
Comedy Central 12% ……………………………………….
Fox 39% …………………………………………………………
MSNBC 14% …………………………………………………..
NBC 3% ……………………………………………………….
PBS 1% ……………………………………………………….
Someone else/Not sure 9%

Bolded text added to highlight Fox News’s dominance on the distrust front.

The network prevailed in both categories by similar margins in the 2012 version of the study. And in the most recent poll, Fox News’s trust/distrust numbers took a beating, prompting PPP to headline its own press release, “Fox News’ Credibility Declines.” The upshot of these revelations is that the Fox News PR shop and the Fox News news shop share the core value of telling only the half of the story that appeals to their sensibilities.

Tom Jensen, director of PPP, tells the Erik Wemple Blog that he has seen Fox News cite his outfit’s polling from time to time. When asked about the truthfulness of Fox News’s promotion, Jensen replied, “I would say it’s misleading to make that claim.” But hey, “that’s corporate PR,” says Jensen.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.